Meditation and emotional processing in the brain:
An ERP study on the influence of long term SudarshanKriya yoga and meditation practice
Reshmi Marhe (274171)
Master Thesis, Institute for Psychology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam
August 2007, supervisor: Liselotte Gootjes
The present study examined differences in the event-related brain potentials (ERPs) of 24 longterm Sudarshan Kriya meditators and 24 control subjects without prior experience in meditation,in their response to an emotional evocative task. The International Affective Picture System(IAPS) was used to examine emotional processing in the brain. Subjects also completed thePositive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). In the 200-400 ms time window, groupdifferences were found at central and parietooccipital brain regions, independent of ERP responseto stimulus valence. The meditators showed higher overall ERP amplitude in these regionscompared to the controls. In the 400-600 ms time window meditators showed greater ERPresponse to neutral pictures at prefrontal brain regions, compared to controls. A negativity biaswas found in both groups and both time windows. Correlations between subjects’ PANAS scoresand ERP amplitudes were found.
The meditation group showed correlations at left, middleand right brain areas, while the control group showed correlations at left and middle brainareas, but not right brain areas. The present findings indicate an effect of meditation on brain responses, but not on emotional processing.